House GOP Clears Path for Obamacare Repeal

(CN) – Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed a resolution to move forward with the GOP’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a day after the Senate passed a similar measure.

The House voted 227-198 to approve the 2017 budget resolution that includes a provision telling committees to being writing legislature that will repeal the signature legislature of the Obama administration.

The measure received no support from House Democrats. Nine Republicans crossed party lines and voted with their Democratic colleagues.

The repeal of the Act, also known as Obamacare, is a priority for President-elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans, although they’ve yet to reveal a promised alternative.

Despite talking about repeal for years, Friday’s House vote was far from certain and became even less so after a number of Republicans expressed concerns about moving forward before a tangible replacement to the Affordable Care Act is at least being discussed.

Democrats argued the same point, saying a repeal without a replacement would jeopardize the health care of tens of millions of Americans. They also said the repeal would life those with pre-existing medical conditions unable to get insurance and dramatically inflate the federal budget deficit.

The majority of GOP members of the House say the system put in place by President Barack Obama doesn’t work and its strangling consumers with high deductibles and rising premiums, while restricting their choice in insurers.

After the vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan said “we now have the tools in place to repeal the Affordable Care Act.”

But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said today was a hollow victory for the Republicans, and that it would ultimately damaged Medicaid and Medicare.

“They want to cut benefits and run,” she said. “They want to cut access and run. They want to cut Medicare and run, Medicaid, and run. The list goes on and on.”

The House also approved a bill granting a one-time exception for retired Marine Gen. James Mattis so that he can run the Pentagon in the Trump administration.

The House passed the bill on a vote of 268-151.

By law former service members who have been out of uniform for less than seven years are barred from serving as defense secretary. The restriction is meant to preserve civilian control of the military.

The 66-year-old Mattis retired from the Marine Corps only in 2013,and therefore couldn’t hold the job without the waiver.

The Senate overwhelmingly cleared the bill on Thursday. A White House spokesman said President Barack Obama would sign the bill if Congress passed it before he leaves office.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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